Aspirin, Milk, Lemon Juice—6 Surprising Ways To Remove Stains From Clothing

They ain’t glamorous but they’re damn handy.

A woman holding a pile of freshly folded laundry.
Photo by Dan Gold on Unsplash

Whether it’s sweat in your white gym tees or a pasta sauce stain the size of Australia on your grey sweatpants (been there, done that), you don’t want spills and marks to ruin an otherwise perfectly good piece of clothing.

Did you know that sweat contains urea, a compound which causes it to turn yellow on our clothing? While deodorants obviously help, non-natural ones that contain aluminium can mix with the sweat and cause those pesky white stains on darker clothing.

Here are 6 straight-forward, natural ways to remove stains from clothing that will help you say “see ya later” to bleach and other toxic chemicals:

Aspirin

Yup, aspirin as in, “I’ve-got-a-banging-headache” aspirin. Who knew they could help you out on the cleaning front too? This method is especially good for sweat stains on white clothing, so gym bunnies, read on!

Simply crush up three pills with some warm water in a bowl and submerge the stain in the mixture for a good three hours. Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which works in a similar way to acetic acid that’s found in vinegar, which leads us on to…

Photo by Shanna Camilleri on Unsplash

Vinegar

Distilled white vinegar removes perspiration stains and odour, as well as stains left in the wake of deodorants. Rub straight white vinegar into the stained area before putting the garment through the wash, and watch the stain disappear. (And if you’re looking to refresh your white kicks, just submerge ‘em in a bowl of water, vinegar and baking soda and watch them come back to life).

Salt

If you’re like me and love a good white linen shirt moment during summer (and let’s face it, the rest of the year too), this one works a charm for sweat-stained yellow-tinged pits.

This all-natural, two-ingredient method is a life hack worth noting, ‘cause all it takes is a tablespoon of salt in a cup of cold water (using hot water sets the stain—always use cold). Use a sponge to work the mixture into the stain, then let soak for an hour before washing.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

Baking soda

I mean, is it humanly possible to compile a DIY list of ingredients for household tasks that doesn’t contain baking soda? This MVP can do it all; clean your kitchen, whiten your teeth and, you guessed it, remove stains from your clothes.

To make this general-purpose stain remover that will lift stains from fabric, simply mix 4 tablespoons of baking soda with 1/4 cup of water to make a paste. Apply the mixture to stains and let sit for three hours prior to washing.

Lemon juice

Photo by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash

Another crowd-pleaser in the homemade household prod stakes, lemon juice can be mixed with equal parts water and scrubbed into the stain in order to banish it for good.

Milk

A cheeky thirty minute soak in a cup of good, old-fashioned full-cream milk can get rid of both lipstick and ink stains. If they’re especially tough, mix the milk with some vinegar and watch the stains soak away.

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